UTEP has about the most flaccid defense UB played against last year, given that we played Kent and Miami (OH) that's saying something about the Miners. They were horrid against the pass, pathetic against the run and usually gave up more than 40 points. In their defense they were breaking the 3-3-5 but you can't expect them to be world beaters just because they have 12 games with the system.
UTEP DL V. Buffalo: UTEP's line is very fast but small. Last season when facing an experienced offensive line the Miners were shoved around like toddlers. Matt Bacoulis, Robert Colpoys, and Matt Ostrowski (Our new starters) are all three hundred pounds or more. Taken together the trio is a physical upgrade to our line from last year but replacing 60% of the line often means they start the season on the same page.
If they are modestly cohesive as a unit they open up holes for the running game, though the speed of UTEP may present a real challenge in protecting Maynard, UB lines are known for hanging their QB out to dry.
UTEP LB V. Buffalo: Like the defensive line they are very, very fast but undersized. Their speed, like that of the line, might have a real impact on the UB passing game both because of pressure on Maynard and because Thermilus will be easier for a LB to cover than Starks would have been.
The Running game should be solid, Thremilus might be better suited than Starks would have been for this game. I doubt he will get 180 yards but he may very well do a good job wearing them down as the game goes on opening up things for Mario Henry and Zach Maynard.
UTEP DB V. Buffalo: The DB's are the best tacklers on the field, but they are not much for pass coverage. Roosevelt will find plenty of open space if Maynard is given, or finds, any kind of time to throw the ball.
What UTEP did not see a lot of last year was Jackson, if his hands have improved a bit his speed is going to create huge openings for Roosevelt and Jessie Rack
UB Keys for the game:
OL: They have to give Maynard time, He is physically a far better QB than Willy but in play decisions are something that does not come without experience and his bit role in 2008 did not provide enough of that.
WR: Jackson and Rack going to have to make their presence felt early in the game, if they can make a big play or two in the first quarter it will take pressure off of Roosevelt and force UTEP to spread around their DB's
RB: Thermilus is going to get his yards running but he has to be reliable out of the backfield, UB needs a dual threat in the backfield to compliment Maynard and keep the UTEP LB's honest.
QB: Maynard needs to keep his own pace. Kelly Page from BSU is a talented QB but he showed just how shaky you can look in your first start. If he can stay out of trouble early *no huge first quarter mistakes* and UB can put up some points he may face a less intimidating crowd later in the game. If he does make big mistakes early its going to be easy for the game to turn into a train wreck.